Be Tick Smart!


by Susan Healey

The ticks are out! When temperatures rise above 4oC, ticks become active. Enjoy the benefits of being outdoors by going for a hike, working in the garden or cleaning up leaf litter in the yard; but remember to be tick smart. While not all Black legged ticks in our area carry bacteria that cause Lyme disease, a significant number do, and you cannot tell if a tick is positive by looking at it. Taking the following precautions will help to reduce your risk:

  • Dress in light coloured clothing so you can see that a tick is on you, (they are dark in colour).
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin. You can apply this to clothing or your skin.
  • Put your outdoor clothes in a hot dryer for several minutes to kill ticks.
  • Do a tick check when you return inside. If possible have someone check you from behind. Check your pets for ticks as well.
  • Thoroughly check your body for ticks and nymphs and promptly remove and dispose of them.
  • You can take a quick shower to help remove any unattached ticks.
  • Speak to your vet about ways to protect your pet.

Lyme disease transmission depends on the length of time the infected tick is attached. Ticks that are removed quickly and have been attached for less than 24 hours are not likely to transfer the bacteria. However, if the tick has been attached for longer than 24 hours you may be at an increased risk and it is recommended that you consult your health care provider.

Check any ticks you remove from your body to determine if they are fat or flat. A fat tick is an indication that it has been feeding for a longer period of time. Tick specimens are not used for diagnosis of disease so they are no longer accepted at the Health Unit.

Lyme disease symptoms can range from a bull’s eye rash around the bite area, to headache, fever and muscle/joint pain. Symptoms can appear from 3 days to several weeks following a tick bite. Consult your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

For more information about ticks and Lyme disease: visit our Insect Bites and Diseases section of our website ( , or call 1-800-660-5853. You can also e-mail us at, or connect with @LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter, or @lglhealthunit.z in Instagram.


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